It is time to introduce the world to Gwen and Stephen’s latest offspring. This year, I pulled one chick and left the other for the them to raise. Who has better parenting skills? Let’s examine the evidence.
Our two competitors: Wise Guy and Atlas (As an aside, I remind the devoted readers of this blog that I actually have no clue as to which sex to assign these bird at birth. I’ve had small crows turn out to be male (hello, Zen) and large ones turn out to be female (greetings, Ginny)).
A short note on nomenclature: Wise Guy got the name because Super Hub found a white wine called Wise Guy with a crow on the label, and I needed to pay homage to the genius who came up with that. Atlas is the Titan who bears the world on his shoulders and this bird could easily relieve him of that duty.
Wise Guy (above); Atlas (right) at approximately the same age.
Wise Guy is the most mellow crow I have ever met. He devotes his day to marching around and then taking naps. When he is feeling adventurous, he perches on the edge of his basket and flaps his wings. He requires lap time in the evening, with head scratches. He rarely vocalizes except to make sounds that sound like yum, yum, yum when he eats. I actually contemplated taking him to the vet to make sure he was OK because he was so laid back. But he refuses to pick up food. He can pick up microscopic pieces of fuzz when so inclined but will not eat on his own. That is classic crow.
“Look what I can do!”
Therefore I am no longer worried Wise Guy was switched with guinea pig at birth.
I am not well acquainted with Atlas because Gwen and Stephen go berserk whenever I get anywhere near him and he hunkers down, so it’s hard to get a photo. I did break all the rules and take a couple of shots when he was still a nestling and that trespass into the inner sanctum has not been forgiven. Until tonight the scant photographic evidence showed that this is not a dainty bird. He’s spent the last few days out of the nest and lumbering around the back area. This evening, I spooked him and he came flying out of the back. Having discovered the excitement of the outside world, Atlas decided to stay a while and look around. He’s easily as big as his mother and may end up rivaling M. Crowbert himself for mega-crow status.
If parenting skills are measured by weight gained per day, then G & S leave me in the dust. In all fairness, however, it must be noted that they co-opted Uber Hub to provide food every hour on the hour. Atlas dined on mice, rat, quail, heart, eggs, and chicks. No dog food for him, as their Corvid Majesties will not countenance such peasant swill passing the bill of their beloved offspring. In contrast, Wise Guy had to contend with dog food, blueberries, heart, beef/bison roll, and pinky mice. No wonder he’s minuscule compared to his sibling.